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Spike (software development)

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A spike is a product development method originating from extreme programming that uses the simplest possible program to explore potential solutions.[1] It is used to determine how much work will be required to solve or work around a software issue. Typically, a "spike test" involves gathering additional information or testing for easily reproduced edge cases. The term is used in agile software development approaches like Scrum or Extreme Programming.


A spike in a sprint can be used in a number of ways:[2]

  • As a way to familiarize the team with new hardware or software
  • To analyze a problem thoroughly and assist in properly dividing work among separate team members.
  • Spike tests can also be used to mitigate future risk, and may uncover additional issues that have escaped notice.

A distinction can be made between technical spikes and functional spikes. The technical spike is used more often for evaluating the impact new technology has on the current implementation. A functional spike is used to determine the interaction with a new feature or implementation.

To track such work items, in a ticketing system, a new user story can be set up for each spike, for organization purposes.

Following a spike, the results (a new design, a refined workflow, etc.) are shared and discussed with the team.


  1. ^ "Spike". The Agile Dictionary.
  2. ^ "Spikes in Scrum". Scrum Alliance. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018. Retrieved 12 July 2018.